Nature-lovers and adventure-seekers should definietely visit Mato Grosso do Sul. It is a paradise for ecotourism and adventure activities. But what is truly surprising is that despite lying in the very heartland of Brazil, many miles from the coast, Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the country`s best diving destinations.
The towns of Bonito and Jardim boast the clearest waters in all of Brazil, with an enormous range of aquatic life and geographical features to atracct divers, from absolute beginners to the techinical level.
The former can enjoy a terrific “underwater cable car ride”: wear a snorkeling mask and flippers – just relax and let the current do all the work, while the awestruck diver is carried off through hidden beauties.
Cave diving experts have nothing to complain about either: Bonito and Jardim`s underwater caves are unique and unforgettable among the finest in the world.
Snorkeling is one of Bonito and Jardim`s major attractions. The best thing is to go with the flow along the riverbeds, observing the underwater fauna and flora, pretending to be a part of this fabulous ecosystem.
An amazing underground lake with crystal-clear waters lies 72 meters below the surface of the Earth. You rappel down to the floating deck through a crack in the rocks. The most beautiful part of the lake lies from 15 to 25 meters deep, a maze formed out of huge underwater cones. This is beyond any doubt one of the region`s most extreme dives. It takes roughly 45 minutes to return to the surface.
Nascentes do Rio Formoso
Bonito`s major river rises from two springs that are side by side. The larger spring flows gently down and narrows with increasing depth. It is interconnected with the second spring, but only divers with experience should attempt the passage, wich is over sixty meters deep. At the entrance to the other spring there is a strong outflowing current.
Spectacular visibility and lush aquatic plants. Piraputangas and dorados are part of the landscape, as are catfish, tetras and small crustaceans. The descent takes 45 minutes and the place is stunningly beautiful. Is is forbidden, howewer, to dive to the source of the Sucuri River because it is too shallow. But the place should not missed because it is one of the town`s most beautiful landscapes.
The skinhole forma a lake with crystal-clear waters. Seventeen meters down, two skinholes open, each ten meters across, descending vertically to over 240 meters. The water is so transparent that from thirty meters below the surface, the diver can look up and see the trees surrounding the lake. Acess to this beautiful site is along a sloping trail some seventy meters in lenght.
Buraco das Abelhas
A cavern only slightly over three meters in diameter formed by a spring. At its entrance the passage bends to the right, and natural light dissapears. At 18 meters a cleft falls vertically to 42 meters. It is ideal for training cave diving.
Olho d`água e Rio da Prata
A large crystal-clear water lake that is a habitat for piraputangas, huge dorados, pintados and corimbas. Unbelievably transparent. A stream flows toward the Rio da Prata, where care must be taken with the descent. You have to clamber over tree trunks, and there is also a waterfall to be negotiated, in order to continue the dive lower down, where there is a huge spring in the middle of the river. The descent takes over one hour and is one of the region`s most beautiful trips.
The place is know as Baía Bonita; it is rich in aquatic plants and surrounded by dense vegetation. Spectacular shoals of piraputangas, corimbas and occasionally dorados. The water is clear to over fifty meters, in a stream 800 meters long that flows into the Formoso River. The dives ends in the herat of the gallery forest, on a trail that passes a number of waterfalls.
Gruta do Mimoso
This is the most sought-after and also the most beautiful underwater cave in the region. The dive begins in a sunlit underground lake in the middle of the cave. Curtains of stalactites advance into the lake, and small tetras shelter among the rocks. You follow the guideline to a large tunnel whose roof is covered with thousands of small stalactites. Another chamber opens to the left containing more than twenty cones, some as much as ten meters tall.
Gruta Ceita Corê
A spring with a cramped entrance that requires a certain effort of the diver. A second constriction occurs nine meters down, wich is even tighter, endling in a cleft that is over 160 meters deep.
Source: Brazil Diving Guide